Monckton doubles down – again!

Recently, I wrote a post pointing out major issues with Monckton et als. recent paper. Stoat thinks it’s complete trash. Arthur Smith has an excellent post discussing real problems with Monckton’s equations. Jan Perlwitz has a post pointing out that this new model isn’t new (although Arthur Smith disagrees; arguing that because it is so flawed, it is essentially new 🙂 ).

I, and others, then spent quite some time on Jan Perlwitz’s blog pointing out to Monckton (or to his Clerk when Monckton was otherwise engaged – or “on stool” as someone pointed out) a number of very obvious issues with his paper. He had completely misinterpreted what past variability tells us about climate feedbacks. His equations completely ignore the heat capacity of the climate system. He kept making statements about how GCMs work, that were obviously incorrect. This also isn’t new. Andrew Dessler pointed out a very good Peter Sinclair video Debunking Monckton. Collin Maessen has a rather lengthy debunking Monckton video.

So, people have – for a long time – been pointing out the problems with what Christopher Monckton presents. So, what does he do? Does he take a step back and think about this. No, of course not, he writes an article for Climate Depot in which he tries to debunk the criticisms of his article by simply repeating all the things that many have already pointed out are clearly wrong.

Furthermore, he concludes his article by saying that the climate fraud will not cease till someone is prosecuted. Anyone remember the outcry when Lawrence Torcello suggested that those who knowingly misrepresent our understanding of climate science for political or financial gain should be regarded as criminally negligent. Do you expect a similar outcry now? No, of course you don’t. That would be silly. Those who were shrieking about – and misrepresenting – what Lawrence Torcello said, probably agree with Monckton; and the rest of us can’t be bother making a fuss over something so ridiculous.

Anyway, some of this is so surreal, it is actually sometimes hard to believe that it’s actually serious. Maybe, just maybe, it is really just an incredibly elaborate joke.

[Edit : I’ve never done this before, but for various reasons, I didn’t really like this post, so have edited it down somewhat and taken out some of what I said. It wasn’t really necessary.]

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52 Responses to Monckton doubles down – again!

  1. dana1981 says:

    I similarly had some commenters commenting that Matt Ridley was very polite in his ‘lukewarmer’ exposition, which apparently made him more believable. I thought that was rather bizarre, as though science is advanced through good manners rather than, you know, evidence and accuracy of one’s arguments.

    Ultimately it’s just yet another sign of bias – people looking for excuses to believe what they want to believe. They want to believe Booker is right, even though he’s preposterously wrong, so they’re forced to resort to concern trolling about his critics’ manners. Same for Ridley et al. Or they at least have to defend him as a member of their ‘tribe’, as Curry calls it (Curry also being a member of that ‘tribe’).

  2. Dana,

    I similarly had some commenters commenting that Matt Ridley was very polite in his ‘lukewarmer’ exposition, which apparently made him more believable.

    I’ve had the same. I’m completely unimpressed by people who manage to remain polite in the face of overwhelming evidence against their position. I also fail to see how promoting views that essentially malign climate scientists qualifies as “polite”.

  3. Rachel M says:

    I’ve used this video in a few different circumstances today already but I think it’s appropriate here too.

  4. Joshua says:

    ==> “I also fail to see how promoting views that essentially malign climate scientists qualifies as “polite”.”

    As someone who has long championed unbiased science, I just want to say that environmental researchers (not to mention climate scientists) are frauds, publish corrupt analyses, as they pursue a “statist rent-seeking” political agenda, without integrity, that will cause millions of African children to starve, as we commit economic suicide.

    But they are also nice people, and I would never all them a bad name, and if I did so I would lose the argument.

  5. ‘Unbiased science’. What a quaint concept

  6. Chris,
    I’m assuming you get that Joshua was mocking – I think – Ridley 🙂 .

  7. verytallguy says:

    The video is genius, but you do realise Tol is up to this too, don’t you..

    [go on, dare you to leave it, you’ve given me an excuse this time…]

  8. vtg,
    Oh, that’s fine now, go ahead. Tol’s fair game for virtually anything now. He might whine a bit, but what else would one expect 😉

  9. So, as much as I would quite like to remain polite and respectful, it can be difficult to do so when people continue to repeat what things that are wrong and that they’ve been told – over and over again – are completely wrong.

    Maybe one should not interpret these statements as scientific statements, but as political position statements. In that case Monckton simply reaffirmed that he is against mitigation.

    The more outrageous the claims, the more someone signals to be against mitigation. In the history of mankind science is very new. Politics has always existed. Not everyone cares about science, even if they may not want to say so publicly because that would weaken their political case, given that science is highly valued in society by most.

    It is thus clear that Booker and Monckton do not want to contribute to science, that they are probably best ignored by scientists. Especially as they may like the negative attention, better than being lonely.

  10. Victor,

    It is thus clear that Booker and Monckton do not want to contribute to science, that they are probably best ignored by scientists. Especially as they may like the negative attention, better than being lonely.

    Yes, this is probably right. It’s just hard to see people continually getting away with regurgitating this nonsense.

  11. jsam says:

    Using Google image search my first two hits were:

    Charles III http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Charles_II_of_England_in_Coronation_robes.jpg

    and this charming couple

    I’m having a hard time choosing. I started from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/TOL.jpg.

  12. Arthur Smith says:

    Since I have comments turned off on my blog (for the I hope excusable reason that moderation was taking too much of my time – sorry Rachel) – I’ll plan to hang around this thread if anybody would like to comment on my article here. Hope that’s ok…

    What I’ve found in almost a decade of bothering with Monckton is he’s often right about some subtle and interesting things, but wrong in the broad sweep of his arguments, and obviously extraordinarily arrogant and offensive. But there are nuggets of interest in there if you dig.

    In particular, this question of the AOGCM feedback sum being less than the ratio of equilibrium sensitivity to forcing is something quite unexpected to me – and apparently wasn’t true for the CMIP3 analyses. What’s going on there? IPCC doesn’t seem to say much about it. I’m guessing it’s an issue with nonlinearity of the feedbacks under the CMIP5 forcing conditions (they seem to have used a 4xCO2 spike generally?) But I’d like to have a clearer understanding. Monckton’s arguments based on the discrepancy are obviously completely off the wall, but he’s hit on what looks to me to be a rather interesting point in it all.

  13. Catmando says:

    Chris, I love that those who chuck the bias word into the discussion so often miss it in themselves (present company excepted). Monckton goes on about the mysterious European Climate Foundation while missing the equally mysterious Heartland Institute hosting his paper for free, inviting him to speak at their one man and a dog conventions and so on.

    Anders: I notice you don’t mention that Monckton sent his flunky to bat for him when he was, as one commenter at Thought Fragments put it, at stool. It was like sending Baldrick to cover for Lord Blackadder (so Rachel’s video was most apt).

  14. Arthur,

    Hope that’s ok…

    Sure, no problem. I don’t know if this helps, but it might be relevant to your question of non-linear feedbacks.

    Catmando,

    I notice you don’t mention that Monckton sent his flunky to bat for him when he was, as one commenter at Thought Fragments put it, at stool.

    I thought I had. Are you sure you actually read this post? 😀

  15. KarSteN says:

    [Mod: Unnecessary] I have to say though, the last thing I would do is to read a “paper” from Monckton. Inevitably BS.

    Apologies ATTP for my highly unprofessional comment. Couldn’t help it 😉 Feel free to moderate or delete if too inappropriate.

  16. Karsten,

    I have to say though, the last thing I would do is to read a “paper” from Monckton. Inevitably BS.

    Good instincts. I did read it, to my everlasting regret 🙂

  17. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: You need to get a firm grip on reality! Take a break and watch Groundhog Day ! (:

  18. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Isn’t it rather unusual for a titled person to play the role of Court Jester in the English system?

  19. JH,

    Isn’t it rather unusual for a titled person to play the role of Court Jester in the English system?

    No, I think that’s the irony of the British class system 🙂

  20. Arthur Smith says:

    ATTP – excellent, I must have read that when you posted it but I’d completely forgotten about it. I think the result you quoted there is at least deeply related, although it doesn’t specifically discuss the issue of the feedback components and their overall naive sum, relative to the actual sensitivity number. Figure 9.43b in IPCC AR5 WG1 (p. 819) looks somewhat similar to the figures you posted, and indeed it cites “Andrews et al 2012” which is “Andrews, T., J. M. Gregory, M. J. Webb, and K. E. Taylor, 2012: Forcing, feedbacks and climate sensitivity in CMIP5 coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L09712.” which seems to be from almost the same authors as the one you referenced (but a couple of years earlier). I should probably try to read both to get a better understanding, but this sounds like nonlinearity is indeed the answer.

    Does that make “sensitivity” not such a well-defined number as we’ve been accustomed to assuming?

  21. Arthur,

    Does that make “sensitivity” not such a well-defined number as we’ve been accustomed to assuming?

    In a sense TCR and ECS are well-defined model metrics (double CO2 at 1% per year for 70 years). What I think complicates things is when you try to relate the kind of energy balance estimates that Nic Lewis uses with these model metrics. I think Troy Masters has been suggesting that we should distinguish between TCR and ECS and effective TCR and effective ECS which, I think, he would define as the observational based estimates, rather than the formal model metrics.

  22. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Careful with that video, Rachel. ‘Ape creatures of the Indus’? We’re not in the 16th century any more. [Mod : not really in context anymore.]

  23. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP says “he concludes his article by saying that the climate fraud will not cease till someone is prosecuted.”

    The symmetry is conspicuous and perhaps deliberate; maybe some “tit for tat”, and is something I would almost bet on when/if the pendulum “swings” back as is already the case in Australia and the United States.

    Deniers are “actionable” for obstructing mitigation efforts, and by so doing, exposing the human race to danger (maybe). Warmists are “actionable” for expending billions of {choose your favorite currency} on a thing that might not be a danger, diverting those billions from a wide variety of public services of undeniable immediate importance.

    Almost anyone can bring an action in a typical western nation. Whether it is worth the trouble and expense is doubtful. We already have the case of the Italian scientists that failed to warn a city of an earthquake. I’m glad their convictions were overturned — how can anyone predict an earthquake with any precision? That’s harder than predicting climate or weather.

  24. M2,

    maybe some “tit for tat”

    How is this tit for tat? It just seems bonkers.

  25. jsam says:

    Monckton is being laughed at. Someone must be prosecuted. It’s tit for tat.

  26. Catmando says:

    Am I sure I read the post? I thought I had but perhaps I skipped a bit. Sorry.

    I like the new director’s cut better though.

  27. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: You assert:

    Warmists are “actionable” for expending billions of {choose your favorite currency} on a thing that might not be a danger, diverting those billions from a wide variety of public services of undeniable immediate importance.

    Please document the source(s) of your “billions” figure.

  28. pbjamm says:

    We have finally reached the breaking point for ATTP!

    Monkton is only suitable for comic relief and no to be take seriously or for extended periods. Side effects may include headache, disbelief, repetition, boggled mind, incredulity, and repetition. Please consult a bottle if Monkton lasts more that 4 hours.

  29. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Bored with the 3rd Viscount Monckton? Have a gander at the 8th Earl of Clancarty. Much more influential, even today.

  30. Eli Rabett says:

    All anybunny needs to know about Christopher Monckton can be found at the Baffler, with an update at Politico

  31. Eli Rabett says:

    For those who don’t follow links, this is Lord Monckton’s business. Nuff said.

  32. Arthur Smith says:

    ATTP

    In a sense TCR and ECS are well-defined model metrics (double CO2 at 1% per year for 70 years).

    That’s true for TCR. But ECS is defined by the equilibrium temperature change from a forcing corresponding to doubling CO2 and is supposed to be at least roughly independent of the starting point or type of forcing. That is, ECS should be half the temperature change from 4xCO2 taken to equilibrium. But if there’s nonlinearities, then the ECS associated with the forcing from the first doubling is necessarily different from the ECS for the second doubling? Or maybe I’m missing something here?

  33. Steven Mosher says:

    Ah the monktopus squirts more ink.

  34. Michael Hauber says:

    ‘Please document the source(s) of your “billions” figure.’

    Would anyone seriously believe we are not spending billions on climate change? Each billion is not much more than a dollar per person for Europe + US + other richer countries. I’d hope we are spending more like trillions on this problem. Each trillion would be say $100 per year higher electricity bill for a billion people over 10 years.

  35. Arthur,

    But ECS is defined by the equilibrium temperature change from a forcing corresponding to doubling CO2 and is supposed to be at least roughly independent of the starting point or type of forcing

    Yes, that’s true.

    That is, ECS should be half the temperature change from 4xCO2 taken to equilibrium. But if there’s nonlinearities, then the ECS associated with the forcing from the first doubling is necessarily different from the ECS for the second doubling? Or maybe I’m missing something here?

    Yes, I think that is what that paper that I discussed earlier is essentially saying, but I might be missing something too.

  36. I didn’t know Josh was joking, what he was saying could easily have come from the ‘mind’ of the Ridley blob.

  37. Andrew Dodds says:

    @Michael Hauber –

    Yes, it’s a perennial grump of mine that people don’t tend to get the scale of the energy industry.

    For the UK, the annual energy spend is well over £100 billion, implying a total capital value several times that. So an annual £7 billion on renewables really isn’t much. And as far as I can tell, a lot of that it private money influenced by subsidies which are an order of magnitude smaller.

    Even those figures include extremely questionable practices like feeding wood pellets into coal fired power stations.

    Quite frankly, for all the sound and fury from the likes of M2, we spend the square root of f-all (technical term) on renewable energy compared to the size of the problem.

  38. Christopher,

    I didn’t know Josh was joking, what he was saying could easily have come from the ‘mind’ of the Ridley blob.

    Exactly. Poe’s law.

    What I think you’re highlighting is correct though. Much of the “debate” outside the scientific literature is conducted by people who appear to have little understanding of how science works and have an idealised sense of how scientists should behave. What the don’t realise is that behaviour is largely irrelevant. Of course, we should not condone fraud, misconduct, plagiarism, but we don’t distrust a scientific result just because the author appears biased. Similarly, we don’t accept a result simply because the author appears trustworthy. What we trust is the scientific method in which results are test, replicated and reproduced. We only really accept something once it becomes clear that it is a result that has been sufficiently tested so as to be regarded as probably correct. It’s the consiliance of the evidence, not a single piece of evidence, that matters.

  39. Michael Lloyd says:

    If you want to play with energy scenarios and keeping the temp rise to 2C, try the DECC calculator:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-can-cut-carbon-emissions-and-live-well

    But don’t forget to detail your assumptions!

  40. Ohflow says:

    I read the back n’ forths at Thought Fragments, between you and Monckton, ATTP. Wasnt that clerk some kind of pretend persona, seems like he wrote as the “clerk” but under Moncktons tag by mistake?
    Which would be both hilarious and sad at the same time as the James Rowlatt(?) character was one of the two people trying to defend Monckton in that same comment field. (I cant enter thought fragments from work, it seems to freeze these crappy I.E browsers up).
    Combine this with the Monckton – potholer fiasco over at WUWT and its kind of clear to see that Moncktons approach is to pick his shots and disappear, he doesnt care about the discussions/learning from other.

  41. Herman Aven says:

    TTP wrote : “Much of the “debate” outside the scientific literature is conducted by people who appear to have little understanding of how science works and have an idealised sense of how scientists should behave. ”

    But your comment exactly does sound like a typical “idealised sense”. My own experience inside the actual world of hard nosed science and also based on many private and public comments from a lot of publishing scientists on this would indicate almost the opposite to be true. They would deem your idea of “how science works” as in practise to be extremely flawed, dysfunctional and prone to bizarre errors and bias. But they’d also admit that all the earlier ways of doing science were even worse! (to paraphrase the usual comments on democracy).

    It’s also interesting you write in the “we” sense. Again, often a sign of over-idealizing and over-identifying. The larger scientific world doesn’t appear to think like that at all. They actually don’t “think” something about anything so general at all. But perhaps teaching and researching at an university does create this strong sense of a monolithic block called “us, science”? In my world, when there’s no indication of strong divisions and continuing fundamental discussions on a topic, then there’s no actual scientific process in sight. Monckton might ride a populist wave for his own narcissistic reasons but the scientific discontent and divide is real enough and actively kept out of all the relevant, popularized conclusions. But to prove such accusation more than one complex meta-study or analysis would be in order and that’s not going to happen any time soon.

  42. Herman,
    I don’t really understand what you’re getting at. My point was simply that scientists are human, they have biases, they will promote their own ideas over the ideas of others; it’s not perfect. However, in the physical sciences at least, we develop trust in some idea because it has been tested, replicated and reproduced enough times that we become more and more convinced of its validity. We don’t trust an idea simply because the scientist promoting it is regarded as trustworthy, and we don’t distrust something simply because the scientist promoting it appears to have some kind of bias. We trust the method, not the individuals involved. Again, I’m not trying to promote obviously flawed practices (fraud, misconduct, plagiarism) I’m simply pointing out that scientists are human and expecting them to behave in some inhuman manner is unrealistic.

    My own experience inside the actual world of hard nosed science and also based on many private and public comments from a lot of publishing scientists on this would indicate almost the opposite to be true. They would deem your idea of “how science works” as in practise to be extremely flawed, dysfunctional and prone to bizarre errors and bias.

    So you and all those you’ve talked to are perfect human beings, completely free of biases and immediately accepting of anything that contradicts some scientific idea that you may have worked on for decades? Amazing, if true.

    It’s also interesting you write in the “we” sense. Again, often a sign of over-idealizing and over-identifying.

    By “we” I meant everyone, not a special group. With the exception of a tiny minority, “we” accept Newton’s Laws, Einstein’s theories of relativity,….. I was using “we” inclusively, not exclusively.

  43. Willard says:

    > The larger scientific world doesn’t appear to think like that at all.

    In what way does “the larger scientific world” differs from “we” exactly, Herman, and does it include investigative journalists like Marcel Crok?

    Thank you for your concerns.

  44. Willard says:

    > don’t really understand what you’re getting at.

    I thought this was pretty clear, AT. Herman found a way to make it about you, perhaps inspired by the newly revealed informations in your outing.

    You work in an ivory tower, in which a majesticly monolithic “we” is used. He, on the other hand, may not. His favorite blogger, Marcel Crok, does not. Marcel is therefore nearer the common man. Herman speaks for all of us, common dogs of the Internet. All this points out that you may be wrong. All this comes from your use of “we”.

    Hope this helps.

  45. Willard,

    Herman found a way to make it about you, perhaps inspired by the newly revealed information’s in your outing.

    Blast, I’m continually caught out by that 🙂

  46. guthrie says:

    Interesting.
    Herman typed:
    “In my world, when there’s no indication of strong divisions and continuing fundamental discussions on a topic, then there’s no actual scientific process in sight. Monckton might ride a populist wave for his own narcissistic reasons but the scientific discontent and divide is real enough and actively kept out of all the relevant, popularized conclusions.”

    To rephrase, does that mean that Herman works in a part of ‘science’ which is always discussing fundamentals and has strong divisions between different schools of thought?
    And what is this scientific discontent and divide that is real and yet not mentioned when discussing the science?

  47. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: Here are some facts for you to chew on:

    Keystone XL is the top issue because the fossil fuel industry wants it to be — and they paid handsomely to make that happen. Take this month’s KXL vote in the House: Representatives voting in favor of the pipeline took a combined $13 million from oil and gas interests in 2014 alone, which was a whopping 8.5 times times more than those voting against.

    And then there’s the impact of Citizens United, which goes far beyond a single vote or a single pipeline. The entire climate and energy landscape has been distorted by the huge influx of industry money since 2010. $13 million is in fact chump change for the oil and gas industry. In 2011-12, oil, gas, and coal companies spent $329 million in campaign finance contributions and lobbying expenditures and received $33 billion in federal subsidies over the same two years — a more than 10,000 percent return on investment.

    How Citizens United paved the way for Big Oil’s bribes by Stephen Kretzmann and Matthew Maiorana, Grist, Jan 22, 2015

  48. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Here’s another excellent critique of the Monckton paper:

    Factcheck: Scientists hit back at claims global warming projections are “greatly exaggerated” by Roz Pidcock, Carbon Brief, Jan 22, 2015

  49. John Hartz says:

    Yet another wrinkle to this story…

    Climate change skeptic accused of violating disclosure rulesby Sylvan Lane, Boston Globe, Jan 26, 2015

    The “climate change skeptic” is none other than Dr. Willie Soon who is one of the co-authors of the Monckton paper.

  50. Arthur Smith says:

    Ok, I’ve read both Andrews’ papers on nonlinearities. I’m a little puzzled – it looks like it’s an issue of timing of response rather than quantity of temperature change? Though it’s not clear to me if that’s really been tested. But given that almost everything is pretty close to linear in the temperature change except a particular clouds-over-oceans feature that seems to take about 20 years to respond to a forcing change, it looks like this is a different issue from equilibrium temperature change being nonlinear in the forcing (ECS not being well defined). Rather the problem is the temperature change combines slow and fast responses, the slow ones with a larger effective ECS than the faster ones. I need to think about this some more, but it looks to me like a different kind of nonlinearity than I’d been expecting…

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